Password Problems: How the Cardinals Hacked the Houston Astros' Confidential Database

Password Problems: How the Cardinals Hacked the Houston Astros' Confidential Database
Image credit: REUTERS | Kacper Pempel
Former Staff Writer
2 min read

For yet another cautionary tale about the need to change one’s login information across one’s various online accounts, look no further than Major League Baseball.

The St. Louis Cardinals -- who have the best record in the league this season -- are currently embroiled in an F.B.I. and Justice Department investigation for allegedly hacking into the database of rival team the Houston Astros.

And front office personnel for the Cardinals are thought to have gained access to the Astros’ internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports through fairly unsophisticated means, The New York Times reports.

Related: Picture This: Emoji Passwords

The case revolves around Jeff Luhnow, a former scouting executive for the Cardinals who left the team to become general manager of the Astros in 2011. During Luhnow’s tenure with the Cardinals, the team had built Redbird, a computer network to house confidential information; at the Astros, Luhnow had helped build a similar program called Ground Control.

Concerned that he was sharing proprietary information in his new position, Cardinals employees turned to a master list of passwords used by Luhnow when he worked for the Cardinals in order to effortlessly breach Ground Control.

The investigation, which is still ongoing, marks the first known case in which a professional sports team has hacked the network of a rival, according to the Times. “Once the investigative process has been completed by federal law enforcement officials, we will evaluate the next steps and will make decisions promptly,” the MLB said in a statement

Related: Password Statistics: The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly (Infographic)

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